Gaidukevich v. Georgia (Application no. 38650/18)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


66. Turning to the second limb of the applicant’s complaint, which concerns the prosecution and conviction of G.K., the Court starts by observing that A.L.’s suicide was hastily accepted by the authorities as the reason for A.L.’s death, on the very first day of the investigation, without any other version being ever considered (see paragraph 23 above, and compare Durmaz v. Turkey, no. 3621/07, §§ 56-58, 13 November 2014). That account of events was primarily based on the statement of G.K., who could in no way be considered an impartial witness. The investigative authorities did not inquire whether, in view of the multiple injuries identified on A.L.’s body and face and having regard to the multiple previous incidents of domestic violence, it was possible that they were dealing with a potential case of gender-motivated murder. Having conducted initial interviews with witnesses and uncovering the allegations of domestic abuse, the investigation clearly failed to respond appropriately and follow up on this information to uncover all relevant details relating to domestic violence. The Court considers that the circumstances of A.L.’s death – which presented the characteristics of a form of gender-based violence – should have incited the investigative authorities to respond with particular diligence in carrying out the investigative measures. The investigation did not involve, however, any examination of the previous incidents of domestic violence and of the possible role of gender-based discrimination in the commission of the offence. In the latter respect, the Court notes that whenever there is a suspicion that an incident or death might be gender-motivated, it is particularly important that the investigation be pursued with vigour (see Tërshana v. Albania, no. 48756/14, § 160, 4 August 2020).

73. Turning to the question of whether the authorities knew or ought to have known that there was a real and immediate risk to A.L.’s life, the Court can only agree with the conclusion of the Supreme Court in its decision of 14 April 2022 that the relevant law-enforcement bodies knew or should have known about such a risk (see paragraph 39 above). Had the authorities carried out a proper risk assessment of all the incidents cumulatively, it seems indeed likely that they would have assessed that G.K. posed a real and immediate risk to A.L., as those notions are to be understood in the context of domestic violence (see Kurt, cited above, §§ 175-76; compare Tkhelidze, cited above, § 53, and contrast Tërshana, cited above, § 151). After all, on three occasions the Tbilisi City Court found A.L.’s allegations about the incidents on 6 February 2013, 5 July 2014 and 16 January 2015 sufficiently credible to issue restraining orders against G.K. (see paragraphs 7, 16, and 18 above). It does not seem, however, that those who took charge of A.L.’s complaints had been specifically trained in the dynamics of domestic violence, as required under the Court’s case-law, the importance of which has already been recognised by the Court (see Kurt, cited above, § 172).

74 .As to whether the authorities took adequate preventive measures in the circumstances, the only operational measures taken to protect the applicant’s daughter were the three restraining orders issued against G.K. However, as established by the domestic civil courts, these were not enough. Indeed, as found by the Supreme Court in its decision of 14 April 2022, the police and the prosecution authorities failed to comply with their obligations, by, among other things, failing to institute a proper criminal investigation into the years of physical and psychological abuse suffered by A.L. The direct consequence of these failures, according to the Supreme Court, was her death. The Court cannot but observe that the deficient response of the law‑enforcement authorities in the present case appears to be particularly alarming when assessed within the relevant domestic context of documented and repeated failure by the Georgian authorities to prevent and stop violence against women, including domestic violence (see Tkhelidze, §§ 56-57, and A and B v. Georgia, § 49, both cited above).

75.  Having regard to the foregoing considerations, the Court concludes that the respondent State has breached its substantive positive obligations under Article 2 of the Convention read in conjunction with Article 14.


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